The number of Halifax-area schools reporting high levels of absenteeism continues to climb, bringing the total to 83 out of 137 schools.

According to Halifax Regional School Board spokesman Doug Hadley, 18 extra schools reported Tuesday that an unusual number of students were staying home. He added, however, that some of the schools that were first to report are now back to near-normal attendance levels.

Overall, 17 per cent of students and 13 per cent of teachers in the HRSB were absent on Tuesday. Public health officials have urged those exhibiting flu-like symptoms to stay home.